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Tracey D. Smith

Tracey D. Smith

Posted: October 12, 2010 12:12 PM

I love the sound of old rock and roll; it was the staple of my formidable years. There is one tune by The Who that has always had mind-scrambling lyrics with a distinct message. Is this who you are? Do you want to be remembered as such? What are you made of? What fiber defines you? Who, ultimately are you?

Who are you?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"

I staggered back to the underground
And the breeze blew back my hair
I remember throwin' punches around
And preachin' from my chair

--The Who

I believe every incoming freshman should think long and hard about the laws of perception, and how first impressions are lasting. When they lay their first step on the campus of future and promise, how do they want to be remembered?

Oh, there are so many different roles we can play in college; one would think we are casting for a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film with a star-studded line up. Let's see, we have the sorority girls, the party people, the earthy/manifestation gurus, the jocks, the intellects, the preps, and the list continues and can become speckled with stereotypic titles that can follow you for the duration of your stay, if you're lucky to be allowed to stay. Students, if you haven't figured out that college is not another level of high school, and you can receive another chance in the following semester, think again. Each semester hour is worth, on average, $150.00 and up -- depending on if you are attending a state university compared to an Ivy League institution of higher learning. Personally, I feel that college is an investment, each student is a walking portfolio of their parent's earnings, and there should be a robust return on investment as if one were betting on stock like Martha Stewart. So in actuality, your real name should be "Charles Schwab", and you should act like it with fervor.

How are you going to be perceived? What is the image you want to be branded in the minds of everyone, including faculty, that has come into contact with you? Are you cognizant that these same faculty members can assist you with internships that are abroad, or perhaps will gladly vouch for your character in a letter of recommendation, without reservation or pause? Or will you be like the rebel with a cause, skipping classes, reeking of incense from last night's soiree of bedlam? Background checks are easily done the minute you earn your first DUI or shoplifting offense. If you have parents that have values and aspirations, understand the sacrifices they've made for you to attend college, some students are less fortunate, and the only college they attend are the University of Golden Arches and a couple of classes at a lower class local community college.

Set your alarm clocks, wake up and smell your future, don't be tardy for your life's goals, don't snooze on opportunity, don't sip for failure, don't be jealous as I boogie into Alpha Kappa Mu, do the right thing per Spike and fight the power of failure. You have four years to practice decision-making authority, and these decisions can qualify and quantify how well your life will be. Everyone gets a pass for a little peer pressure in high school, and poor judgment, but when there is a dollar value and the potential of repercussions that could prevent your success -- you need to walk the line like Johnny Cash. If you choose to waste your parents money, and you absolutely could care less about how others perceive you, then stay home and work at Wal-Mart, save them the grief, and the money.

Once you become sick of the redundancy of bagging juice boxes and cat litter, and you wished you had utilized competitive decision-making skills, your fellow classmates will be skiing in St. Moritz or sailing in Sardinia. Life is like a game of chess, and you have the empowerment and authority to make all of the moves. Congratulations to the incoming class of 2014. This is the beginning of your life, and there is no room for failure or mistakes. Take this chance to learn how to hob-knob, network, interview, navigate, compete, and self-motivate yourself to place yourself on a course for smooth sailing. Now if you choose to be the person that the song was written about, who apparently was living the life of a reckless Bohemian with a drinking problem, then you've made a poor choice, and wasted a lifetime of dreams and hopes. If you begin with the mindset that this is an election and you've got to gain as many advocates and supporters, then one day you will be someone I hope to read about. Read books of inspiration, and always fall back on faith, regardless of your religion. If there is a need for crisis intervention, don't be afraid to ask for help, which is the beginning step of truly being courageous.

Who are you? Are you a doctor, a partner at a law firm, a teacher, a casting director, the creator of a sitcom? The possibilities are endless. Be someone that is a memory of positivity and excellence, and leave the buffoonery at the door.

 

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